Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hot Showers and Indoor Toilets


Indoor toilets and hot showers are great. Both are only short steps from my bed and I start every day with them. Central heat is nice too. I hope to have all three for the rest of my days - about twenty more years for an almost-sixty-year-old, heterosexual white guy according to the actuaries - but I’m not fully confident that I will. For that, I’ll need steady and affordable supplies of electricity and fossil fuel for the next two decades and those require a stable infrastructure, both physical and financial. In spite of what the lefty Cassandras proclaim about us running out of fossil fuels, we’re not, and we won’t for centuries to come. It’s the cracks in our financial infrastructure that worry me. Maybe it’s the widespread strikes in France over raising the retirement age from 60 to 62. French unions are shutting down refineries and pipelines. Maybe it’s the riots in Greece over similar benefit and retirement issues. Both portend unrest here in America, which is on the same path many European countries have been traveling. Frenchmen and Greeks and many other Europeans are like petulant children who expect their parent government to take care of them while they put their feet up and relax. They want to retire young, then collect full pensions and benefits for two or three decades. They don’t seem to care or even understand how unrealistic those expectations are. They don’t have enough young people to work and pay the taxes necessary to keep it all going - and it’s their own fault.

When so many French, Italians, Spaniards, Germans, and Greeks choose not to bear enough children even to replace themselves, who did they think was going to keep working to support them in their declining years? Yeah, I know children are expensive, take a lot of energy and sacrifice and are a pain to raise sometimes, but what’s the alternative? Did they think immigrants were going to fill in for the children they never had? Immigrants, legal and illegal, have swarmed into Europe from Muslim countries to the south, but they’re not assimilating. They don’t want to become Frenchmen, Spaniards, Norwegians, Swedes, or Italians, and they are proving to be a net drain on government services instead of contributing to the pensions and benefits of aging Europeans. Rather than showing affection for their new homelands, the new immigrants seem disdainful. Immigrant neighborhoods are breeding grounds for terrorists. All this has lead German Chancellor Angela Merkel to declare that multiculturalism - the liberal dream that people from every culture would come to Europe and be smiling, happy people holding hands - “has utterly failed.” She might as well have said that European socialism has utterly failed as well because it has. It’s responsible for a generation of selfish, pampered, spoiled citizens who want what they want no matter what it costs. They don’t care if everything comes crashing down after them, as long as they get theirs while they’re still living.

After 33+ years as a public-school teacher in Maine, there’s a pension coming to me for the rest of my days - theoretically. I have no debts. My expenses are low. My wife and I know how to live frugally, having spent most of our lives together working multiple jobs, paying the bills and raising a family. With a pension, we could cut back our workload a bit and live fairly comfortably but one thing nags at me: Can I depend on that that pension being there in five years? Ten years? Maybe. Maybe not. State pension funds are in trouble all over the country, underfunded by over $3 trillion. As Andrew Biggs writes in the Wall Street Journal: “According to accounting rules adopted by the states, a public sector pension plan may call itself "fully funded" even if there is a better-than-even chance it will be unable to meet its obligations.” Many don’t even reach that threshold. Just as in Europe, government employee unions and left-wing politicians here signed extremely generous agreements over the years that both sides must have known were little better than Ponzi schemes. They worked well for the first waves of retirees, but - as with Social Security - bankruptcy looms for baby boomers like me who are beginning to retire now. The forty million babies aborted in America over the last four decades would have come in handy about now, but oh well. It’s likely they’d have been much more productive than the 12-20 million illegal immigrants from Latin countries to our south who have been allowed in to replace them. Like Muslim immigrants in European countries, they’re a net drain on our system, but at least they’re not plotting to bring down western civilization as Muslim immigrants are in Europe. That’s a consolation. Socialist Democrats running the White House and Congress have added over $3 trillion to our national debt in less than two years. The Federal Reserve is printing $100 billion a month, yet unemployment is still rising. Nonetheless, my toilet worked this morning. Hot water was there in the shower. The heat came on. I still have a job to go to and the election is less than two weeks away.

One day at a time.

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23 Comments:

Anonymous JOHN R said...

WHEN YOU STAY HOME YOU MAKE SENSE

10/20/10, 7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good answer John !

10/20/10, 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. McLaughlin, thank you for the commentary and insights into a major malady of our times - people expecting entitlements. When the entitlements depend upon a sizable working population continuing to pour money into the Ponzi scheme you mentioned, the demographics become very important. The declining populations in developed countries spell doom for those cultures. The rising populations of non-assimilating immigrants spells double doom. Your speculation about the life-time of the infrastructure upon which we depend is very thought- provoking.

Thank you for your observations; please keep up the writing.

10/20/10, 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better than usual! The inane babblings of a grouchy white guy who is so insecure with his sexuality that he has to remind us he is hetero!

In Tom's fantasy world our oil will last for centuries!

Reality check: http://www.science20.com/absentminded_professor/peak_uncertainty_when_will_we_run_out_fossil_fuels

Funny how conservatives pretend to be so upset about leaving our children in a bad financial state but have no qualms whatsoever in leaving them a destroyed, ravaged planet.

Keep on having babies, everybody, that will fix our problems!

Another spit out my coffee morning read. Great to start the day with a good belly laugh. Thanks again, Tom!

10/20/10, 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

I love how Tom Posts these columns in the middle of the night! The surreal incoherence that comes with Tom's half-asleep dream state really brings a humorous touch to his jumbled thoughts. It's no wonder his columns eschew reality, they are based mainly on his dreams, which seem to fluctuate from sexual thoughts to toilets to nightmares about liberal boogiemen.

10/20/10, 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh anonymous critical posters---have some guts and stand up for your beliefs and share who you are.

Nice job Tom--poignant as always.

-Monroe Mann, MBA, JD, ME

10/20/10, 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Eric said...

Hey, Monroe, there was only ONE anon bashing Tom. There was also one gutless anon who didn't dare stand up in their support of Tom and share who they were.


As for your calling Tom's columns "poignat", good one!

"painfully effecting the feelings"

Painful indeed!

10/20/10, 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Doug said...

Boy, I bet Tom is glad that he posted a new column so he feels more comfortable (but still looks spineless) ignoring the questions and the beating he took from the last strand!

10/20/10, 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

[All this has lead German Chancellor Angela Merkel to declare that multiculturalism - the liberal dream that people from every culture would come to Europe and be smiling, happy people holding hands - “has utterly failed.”]

Way to go Chancellor Merkel...keep all other ethnicities away and Germany can breed just good blond, blue-eyed Germans. Hitler would be proud of her!

Everybody just go back to where you were born. America was created by immigrants (illegal, I might add, in the way they took the land from the indians) but now it's time to close all borders. We got ours, the hell with them right?

10/20/10, 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Tom - glad to hear your toilet is working. You should have used it to flush your column.

10/20/10, 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Alexander said...

Thank you Tom, it was a good one. You can tell from the rage of the usuals who know nothing about oil reserves or Germany. I like it.
Alexander from Bartlett

10/21/10, 12:24 AM  
Anonymous Doug said...

epteratRage? Really, Alexnder? Where?

I see a lot of laughs and jokes at Tom's expense but no rage. No wonder you like his column, reality seems to matter little to you as well.

lol

10/21/10, 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Kevin Moss said...

Tom foolishly says: "She might as well have said that European socialism has utterly failed as well because it has."

Huh? Trying to force ridiculous words into people's mouths?

How does Tom explain the strength of the Euro over the dollar? How does Tom deal with the fact that the US economy collapsing had a LOT to do with the struggles in Europe. Who's banks failed? Who's auto-manufacturers are going bankrupt? Why are the most livable cities in the world in Europe?

Here is a link to the most livable cities in the world:

http://www.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/livable_cities_worldwide.html

If you look at the list of the top 20 cities in the World, you will see that 80% are in Europe, and none are in the USA. And ALL the top 20 cities in the are in countries that have Universal Nationalized Health care, what the Republican lunatics and the right-wing Media in US call "Socialism..."

Elitists like Tom keep fighting for for the benefit of Big Corporations, (Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big Oil, Big Banks, Big Military) and rally against anything, like unions, that help the common. He seems to care not at all what horrible effects this has on our country. No, he would rather "win" an election (as if it were a sporting event).

10/21/10, 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Tom's opinion about population:

Here is an excerpt from an article by Lindsey Grant, a writer on population/resource/environment issues and a retired Foreign Service Officer. During his Foreign Service career, he was a China specialist, a National Security Council staffer, a member of the Department of State's policy Planning Staff, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment and Population Affairs.




"Europe is crowded. The sub-region of Western Europe (see Note at close for definitions) has a population of about 155 million - nearly two-thirds that of the United States - in an area about one tenth as large.


If a sustainable society is judged by its success in living comfortably within its resources - in preserving the environmental and resource base that supports it - then Europe like the rest of the world has not yet achieved it. Fossil energy has made possible a period of very high productivity while its byproducts have been sowing the seeds of destruction of the economies it has supported. The energy transition may be a blessing if it lessens that threat and forces us all toward sustainable energy policies.
It is ironic that when West Europe has just succeeded in stabilizing population growth, controlling a potentially dangerous dependency on imported food, adjusting to the transition from the colonial era, and positioning itself to deal with the energy transition there are those who are fearful of that very success.
There is no magic about "population stability," nor is it even attainable the real world. When growth ends, there will be fluctuations, not a constant.
Europe, apparently, has entered that period, and the present demographic patterns help to meet the problems that they face. Bravo. We should be studying their experience and their solutions."

For the full article:

http://www.npg.org/forum_series/europe_energy.htm

10/21/10, 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Tom's opinion about population:

Here is an excerpt from an article by Lindsey Grant, a writer on population/resource/environment issues and a retired Foreign Service Officer. During his Foreign Service career, he was a China specialist, a National Security Council staffer, a member of the Department of State's policy Planning Staff, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment and Population Affairs.




"Europe is crowded. The sub-region of Western Europe (see Note at close for definitions) has a population of about 155 million - nearly two-thirds that of the United States - in an area about one tenth as large.


If a sustainable society is judged by its success in living comfortably within its resources - in preserving the environmental and resource base that supports it - then Europe like the rest of the world has not yet achieved it. Fossil energy has made possible a period of very high productivity while its byproducts have been sowing the seeds of destruction of the economies it has supported. The energy transition may be a blessing if it lessens that threat and forces us all toward sustainable energy policies.
It is ironic that when West Europe has just succeeded in stabilizing population growth, controlling a potentially dangerous dependency on imported food, adjusting to the transition from the colonial era, and positioning itself to deal with the energy transition there are those who are fearful of that very success.
There is no magic about "population stability," nor is it even attainable the real world. When growth ends, there will be fluctuations, not a constant.
Europe, apparently, has entered that period, and the present demographic patterns help to meet the problems that they face. Bravo. We should be studying their experience and their solutions."

For the full article:

http://www.npg.org/forum_series/europe_energy.htm

10/21/10, 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

How would 40 million additional people help our situation at all? To me, that's 40 million additional jobs needed (which we obviously don't have, given unemployment rates), 40 million additional mouths to feed, 40 million additional consumers depleting resources, and 40 million additional recipients of federal programs. Remember, a lot of those 40 million would have grown up in single-parent households, the children of incest or rape. I'm sure that all 40 million would have been brilliant, productive, and perfect citizens, but a glance around at some of the people in this country makes me doubt the odds of that.

10/25/10, 12:09 AM  
Anonymous Doug said...

Good question, Alex. Don't expect an answer from Tom though, that is not his style. Like most spineless bullies sling the mud and hide is his M.O.

10/25/10, 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Tom, Rush was right. I used to think that he was wacked when he talked about Seminar callers. You on the other hand have Seminar Posters. Strange though, I seem to find them absent from all the rants of Columnists like Susan Bruce and the like. Liberals are so tolerant until you disagree!

10/25/10, 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh? What is that last anon trying to say? That people should just shut up and not speak out against lies and statements they don't agre with? That more people should speak out against Susan Bruce? That liberals shouldn't be tolerent of those they agree with?

10/26/10, 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"seminar callers try to portray themselves as regular people, claim to agree with the host's point of view, then begin to read a contrary opinion from an agenda"

Another huh? Who here has been pretending to agree with Tom's looniness before pounding him?

10/26/10, 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He knows what he is talking about. All the people that are leving the bad comments are Liberal hippies that think the world is all peace

10/26/10, 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is absolutely NO evidence that any poster is a hippie who thinks the world is all peace.

On the other hand we have Tom, who believes the world WOULD be all peace if there were 40 million people running around who were raised by parents that didn't want them.

10/26/10, 12:11 PM  
Blogger total12 said...

For that, I’ll need steady and affordable supplies of electricity and fossil fuel for the next two decades and those require a stable infrastructure..accounting Romania

3/27/14, 5:07 AM  

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